For many of us, starting a family is important. However, it’s not always easy. In vitro fertilisation, better known as IVF, gives a lifeline of hope to couples who have so far been unable to have a child. For same-sex couples, it raises the question of which partner will be the baby’s biological parent. Reciprocal IVF is one option that allows two female partners to share in the process of having a child, with one partner providing the genes and the other carrying the embryo. Fertility specialist Dr Malini Uppal explains.
What is reciprocal IVF?
Reciprocal IVF, which is also sometimes known as shared motherhood, is a process to help create a family for couples who both have female reproductive organs. This method involves using IVF whereby the eggs are collected from one partner and fertilised in the laboratory. Once the embryo or embryos are created, one or two embryos are then transferred to the uterus of the other partner, hoping to result in a pregnancy.
What is the procedure for reciprocal IVF like in the UK?
The normal procedure is that the couple comes for a consultation, which involves going through a full medical history, while also discussing details of the process including stimulation, egg collection and its possible complications. Each step is discussed in detail. The ovarian reserve of the partner undergoing stimulation is also explained at this point.
Following this is an appointment to complete all the HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority) forms. HFEA strongly recommends having implication counselling.
Egg collection is done under conscious sedation, performed by a transvaginal ultrasound-guided procedure. Embryo(s) created as results are then transferred to the uterus of the other partner, hoping to achieve a pregnancy.
How much does reciprocal IVF typically cost?
The cost for reciprocal IVF is similar to that of a standard IVF treatment. The variable factor is the medications used for the stimulation cycle. This is dependent on the client’s age and ovarian reserve. Sometimes, couples may require additional tests, which then can contribute to extra costs.
Can you share any success stories with us for reciprocal IVF?
We are a clinic that supports female couples (and male couples too) and we physically and emotionally share their journey towards creating a family. We are proud to say that we have been successful in several such cases resulting in pregnancy and healthy childbirth.
Visit Dr Uppal’s Top Doctors profile to book an appointment.